Publishe Date: 9:21 AM - 2/17/2014 | Print

Iran nuclear negotiating team heads to Vienna

Politics - Iran’s nuclear negotiating team led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has headed to the Austrian capital of Vienna for the next round of talks with the Sextet of world powers.

Zarif, who left Tehran early on Monday, is accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi, Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi, Director General for Political and International Affairs at Iran's Foreign Ministry Hamid Ba'eedinejad, Foreign Minister's Legal Adviser Davoud Mohammadnia and Director General for Safeguards at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Amiri.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, Russia, Britain, France and the United States -- plus Germany are scheduled to hold the next round of nuclear talks on Tuesday.

The Sextet will be represented by US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, British Foreign Office Political Director Simon Gass, French Foreign Ministry Political Director Jacques Audibert, German Foreign Ministry Advisor Hans-Dieter Lucas, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov and China’s representative Wang Min.

On Monday night, Zarif is scheduled to meet EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton who heads the Sextet of powers during the nuclear talks.

The upcoming talks, which are expected to be highly challenging, will focus on new and advanced centrifuges as well as the Arak heavy water reactor.

On Saturday, Zarif said the next round of the nuclear talks between the Islamic Republic and the six major world powers will be held with a view to Tehran’s “rights and interests.”

The negotiations are aimed at reaching a comprehensive accord on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program after the two sides clinched a landmark interim deal last November.

Under the Geneva deal, the six countries undertook to provide Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Iran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities during a six-month period. It was also agreed that no nuclear-related sanctions will be imposed on Iran within the same timeframe.

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